Boston High School: Will Andino

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 1, 2011
6/01/11
2:57
PM ET
Prodigy.

Rhode IslandThat’s the appropriate noun to use when referring to Smithfield High freshman Matt Kuhar – all five-feet, two-inches and 93 pounds of him. Kuhar became only the third freshman in Interscholastic League history to capture the state singles championship when he polished off North Kingstown senior and No. 2 seed Dan Hansen in straight sets – 6-3, 6-3.

The only other freshmen to win state titles are Gordie Ernst in 1982 (Ernst, who initially attended Hendricken before transferring to Cranston East in the fall of 1982, holds the state record with four singles championships) and South Kingstown’s Andy Singer in 2000.

In the process, top-seeded Kuhar extended his dual-match winning streak to 22-0 and beat the more experienced Hansen for a second time this season (albeit their first match was in April). And in that match, Hansen became one of only three players who would win one – repeat, one – set from Kuhar this season.

Kuhar’s combination of groundstrokes and backhands enabled him to win the first set in 30 minutes and break open the second set after building only a 2-1 lead.

The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Hansen – and not only because he lost in last year’s finals to Wheeler’s Jessie Frieder.

Hansen on April 20 underwent surgery after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. But after missing just seven matches, he went 8-1 heading into the qualifying round on May 6.

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